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Meet Me at the Piazza!

Inspired by the St. Ignatius Piazza in front of the Church of St. Ignatius in Rome—a place where ideas, the arts and the Church’s faith traditions have all flourished in community since 1728—our new piazza will serve as a hub for Rambler life and set the stage for a renaissance in arts programming that will culminate in the construction of a new theater for the performing arts.
For centuries, piazzas have been center stage for life in Italy. Often described as the “beating hearts” of Italian cities and towns, piazzas are places where people can gather to socialize, take in a performance or simply take a break from the demands of the day. Some are intimate, some are grand, some are opulent and some are humble and unadorned.

Yet these piazzas (pronounced “piattsas”) all have something in common, because they are not just physical spaces, but meaningful ones.

“The concept of the piazza is very much in sync with the Jesuit perspective,” notes Loyola Academy President Rev. Patrick E. McGrath, SJ. “The St. Ignatius Piazza in Rome was integral to the architecture of the Church of St. Ignatius because the Jesuits believed that whatever happened in the church should be brought out into the marketplace. It was about breaking down the walls between the sacred and the secular and creating a place where the church meets the world and the world meets the

Over the centuries, the St. Ignatius Piazza also became a place where ideas, art and commerce all came together—where creative things happened.

“Our new piazza at Loyola Academy is our attempt to claim some of the idea of that space,” says Fr. McGrath, “to create a hub where Ramblers and members of the larger Loyola community can come together to converse, collaborate, create and celebrate their faith.”

Conceived as a flexible, light-filled space that will connect our new aquatic center to our West Gym, entry lobby, interior courtyard and academic wings, the piazza will be equipped with furnishings that can be rearranged to accommodate a variety of needs.

“When our new piazza is completed in August 2019, it will be a welcoming place that will serve not only as a destination, but as a hub where people will cross paths on their way to other parts of the school,” explains Executive Vice President Dennis R. Stonequist ’90. “Although this new space will not be lavish in terms of finishings or furnishings, it will be rich in experience. We envision students meeting in the piazza to participate in after-school study sessions, collaborate with their fellow Ramblers on class projects, or simply enjoy an impromptu conversation with friends. The piazza will serve the entire Loyola community—with students families, alumni and friends gathering there before and after school events or to celebrate the arts at cultural happenings such as musical and theatrical performances, art exhibits, poetry readings, open-mic sessions and more."

Loyola Academy

1100 Laramie Avenue, Wilmette, Illinois 60091-1089  |  847-256-1100
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